The North Carolina Football team is off to a great start but as we Tar Heels know, it is never too early to look towards basketball. And yes, "Late Night with Roy" is next week. There are high expectations for this edition of the Carolina basketball team. In many ways, they are similar to the 2009 team where the core group came back to attempt to achieve their goal of cutting down the nets in the NCAA Tournament. That team, led by Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and company did just that.
This season, it is Harrison Barnes playing the role of Hansbrough with the core of last season's team bypassing the NBA to attempt to accomplish what the 2009 squad did. Tyler Zellar and John Henson along with Barnes spurned the Association and will be joined by the likes of Kendall Marshall, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland making them the preseason number one team in the majority of publications you will find. And if that group of young men weren't enough, add one of the top recruiting classes which bring James McAdoo, P.J. Hairston and Desmond Hubert to the mix and you have a recipe for an absolutely loaded team.
With that talent comes expectations. Much like the 2009 group, this team has Championship or bust written on it. But Roy Williams seems to thrive in keeping the hunger and focus on teams with high expectations. The 2009 team proceeded to place one of the most thorough destruction of an NCAA field on record, enroute to a Championship. That included a Championship Game victory against Michigan State that was, for all intent and purpose, over midway through the first half.
This is a different group. Tyler Hansbrough was the rock for the 2009 team. Harrison Barnes showed he can carry his team if needed, last season. It remains to be seen if this group can achieve the same level of success as the 2009 Champions but the expectations will be there.
The journey will begin soon. "Late Night with Roy" kicks the excitement off. This video is a nice preview and underscores the talent that will be running under the banners in the Smith Center this season. It is an exciting time in Chapel Hill. Nothing can be finer than basketball season starting in Carolina.